Real Estate Tool Examples

Services for Real Estate Pros with Way Out Web Dezign

In my last post, I talked about some specific real estate tools that agents might consider providing for their site visitors. Some of the tools I discussed were as follows:

  • Real Estate Search Tool
  • Slide Show
  • Mortgage Calculator (and other finance tools)
  • Maps

Each of these tools can be implemented in different ways and used for various aspects of helping your site visitors.

Lets look at a couple of examples and see how the implementation of these tools can vary.

Real Estate Listing Search

The first tool I want to delve into is the search tool. As I mentioned in the previous post, a search tool can be implemented in a variety of ways. We'll examine two.

One way to implement listing searches is through what is called an "iframe". Here is an example of a listing page of Branson condos from a property management company in my area. While this page is a rather simple example of searching data, it definitely shows why I prefer the data push or "feed" method if it is available. Because this information is not coming from a database that the site owner controls, the only way to search the data is through the tool provided by the interface on the originating site. In this example, the only way to adjust the data is to select a sort order. Granted, the results only occupy three pages, so in this case it really isn't a major hindrance to the visitor. But what if this were a listings database for homes in a specific area? How would you filter out the cabins, or say, all brick exteriors? Definitely something to think about. How about if you wanted to eliminate the searching all-together and just show a page of properties that are lake front without requiring the visitor to click anything after they land on the page? Thankfully, there are multiple ways of providing information to your site visitors.

The other way to implement data searches for your visitors is through a data push or feed, as mentioned in the previous post, this allows you, the agent, to store the data in your own database and present it in ways that you feel are relevant to your particular site visitor. This is not available in all areas, so you may not have this opportunity available to you. However, I personally think this opportunity will continue to open up for others considering, the vast availability of listing databases like Google Base which has over 30,000 properties just for the state of Missouri alone.

With a data push, you have flexibility to present the information in various ways. Here is an example of a search tool by a Branson real estate firm using this method. This search form allows the visitor to filter out all kinds of information. Information that the user may not want to sift through. Since data providers must keep search tools appealing to a wide audience, it is not feasible for them to provide as many search operations in a generic tool because not every agent targets the same group. So, the basic search tool works nicely for more people, but not perfectly for each individual.

Does that mean that it is easier for the user? Not necessarily. Apparently, the firm mentioned in the previous paragraph realized that there are many visitors that might be interested in only lake properties and would like to see them without having to filter out unrelated properties. This is evident by their creating a page just for lake homes in Branson. This page has all the filtering done and the visitor can just browse the listings without having to revise the search or click parameters to set limits.

If the site owner chose to, they could split the lake homes page up into numerous pages showing homes on the lake in varying price ranges. They might have a page of lake homes that range from $150,000 to $250,000 and then another page showing only $251,000 to $500,000 and so on.

All of this is with the user in mind, the idea is make it easy for the visitor to find what they want to find.

Mapping Properties

Let's say I am a looking for a new home because I am relocating to say, Missouri and I want something that is in a neighborhood. I don't want something out in the middle of nowhere because I prefer the atmosphere of having neighbors close by. Well, I would need to be able to see where any property of interest is located without having to go to the location or have someone else go there and take photos and email them or whatever other method might work.

Personally, I would just go to a real estate website utilizing property mapping technology to locate and view the homes there. Is it really a big help? Well, what about this listing (if that link is dead, feel free to contact me)? When I visit that page, I immediately see if that property is in a neighborhood.

The mapping doesn't have to stop there. What if you, the agent wanted to show each of your listings on a map? It could be done. The visitor, just clicks a house icon and the address pops up or they go to a details page with all the information and a contact button.

I hope this post was helpful. I wanted to show a couple of ways to creatively help your site visitors. I also wanted to highlight some big advantages to going with custom designs and having a programmer maintaining your website. With a knowledgeable professional helping you and consistently improving the functionality of your site, I feel you will be in a better position to assist your clients. The bottom line is, never stop trying to make your site more user-friendly and work to build your site for your specific market, not necessarily the masses.

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Comments (3)

Lisa Friedman
Alliance Realtors - Bedminster, NJ
Central New Jersey Real Estate

Thank you Matt.  What a great idea of adding mapping software to my web site.  Love the idea!

Lisa Friedman

Dec 28, 2007 05:02 AM
Matt Way
Way Out Web Dezign - Branson, MO
Thanks. Glad I could help.
Dec 28, 2007 05:15 AM
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team
Thank you for these ideas.  Bookmarked and I will use it on my website.
Dec 28, 2007 05:24 AM